I have to be the last person to see “The Blind Side.” Just released yesterday in DVD, I scurried home at 8 pm from a civic meeting to settle in and give my full attention to this award-winning movie. Not only was Sandra Bullock fabulous, but the young man playing Michael Oher was kind and well-mannered. He grew up with no father and his mother was a drug addict. How in the world did he know to neatly fold the bedding sheets after spending the night on the family’s couch? My goodness, the young man had never before even had a bed! There were countless times where he produced courtesy, respect and good manners.
My favorite part of the movie was the Thanksgiving scene. Let me start with saying this family had every financial resource available, a beautiful home, cars and a huge dining room table. At dinner time, the family all sat down in front of the television to eat and watch football. All but Michael. He was sitting alone at the large dining room table. He had seen a Norman Rockwell picture of a family sitting together at a table for a holiday and he wanted to feel that connection. Quickly realizing their error, the family joined him at the table complete with food served “family style.”
How do we expect our kids to learn table manners, how to have a conversation with others or even who we are and what we think if we don’t take the time for a meal–no TV and at a table with silverware? A few months ago I taught an etiquette class to a group of area high school kids. They were the most well-behaved and inquisitive high school group I have had. I taught Table Manners 101 and then they were served a formal meal in order to practice their new skills. While walking around to answer questions I realized they were fumbling with the knife and fork. As cutting meat is one of my top pet peeves, I was certain to have them master this skill. Some of them just couldn’t overcome the awkwardness of handling the silverware. For days I pondered why…then realized that kids today are unwrapping their food, their fast food, they are not using a knife and fork.
With our busy lives packed with sports, music lessons, TV shows, cell phones, test messaging during meals and fast food dinners, I have proof that our kids are in our “Blind Side.” It is time to produce our own award-winning movie at home.Best regards,